The territory’s return to the hardwood didn’t come with wins this week in Winnipeg.
Yukon, which didn’t enter a basketball team in the 2013 Games, went winless in the male and female divisions at the Canada Summer Games.
“I’m very happy for the way these young men conducted themselves all week,” said Yukon male team head coach Tim Brady.
“They received a lot of positive comments and feedback from folks who watched them play, given that pretty much every single game they had they were disadvantaged in multiple ways through their size and their age mainly. Through all of that they maintained a very high competitive spirit and approach to their play, and worked really hard, and demonstrated a great deal of resiliency every day against really challenging odds.”
Yukon’s male team finished the tournament with an 84-68 loss to N.W.T. in a back-and-forth battle on Aug. 3.
Yukon outscored their neighbours to the east in the second and fourth quarters but couldn’t overcome a 12-point deficit at the end of first quarter. They did manage to finish the first half down by just four points at 41-37.
“We picked up our intensity on our defence and pressed and turned them over quite a few times, got some steals and were able to score some easy baskets at the rim (in the second quarter),” said Brady.
“We came out in the third — I haven’t been able to watch the tape yet — I think we turned it over (to N.W.T.) a few times right off the bat. We took some shots that probably weren’t the best shots we could take to start the second half. They were contested, mostly guarded shots, and came out a little bit cold. They got those rebounds and went down and scored on us, so all of a sudden we’re down by 10 or 12 again and had to fight our way back.
“It was an uphill climb for us this game and it’s been an uphill climb for us all week.”
Yukon also lost 107-45 to Saskatchewan, 122-45 to New Brunswick, 131-41 to Quebec and 88-63 P.E.I. leading up to the game against N.W.T.
Ryan Hindson, who has played for Yukon at the Arctic Winter Games, the Western Canada Summer Games and national championships, led the team with 109 points over five games. Teammate Ian New, who logged 20 points against N.W.T., finished the tournament with 49. Yukon’s Dave Mindinao was third on the team with 33 points.
“(Hindson) had a good week here,” said Brady. “He and Ian New, who were our two veteran players, this was the last time they’re going to play for us in this capacity. It was great to have them on this team and see them, from a developmental perspective, from where they started four, five, six years ago … to see where they are today. I really appreciated them both being here and the effort they put in. They worked extremely hard here.”
Female team loses rough game to P.E.I.
P.E.I. finished the Games with a win over Yukon in the female basketball tournament. They also got a lesson in true grit from the Yukon team.
“We were kind of ravaged with injuries that last game,” said Yukon head coach Tyler Bradford. “A couple players went out with concussions and a shoulder injury. But the girls continued to play hard with a lot of heart and tenacity, and they left all of it on the court today.”
“It was a tough game,” said Yukon player Jetta Bilsky. “There was a lot of fouling.”
Yukon — the only territory to enter a team in the female tournament — fell 80-20 to P.E.I. on Aug. 3 to end the Games.
Dylan Massie led Yukon in scoring with six points. Bilsky led the team in rebounds with six and in court time with over 29 minutes.
“We’re feeling pretty good. We feel like we really competed and worked on our personal goals,” said Bilsky. “We might not have come out with a win but we tried our best and we kept going even though the score might not have reflected that.”
Yukon opened the Games with a 98-14 loss to Nova Scotia before a devastating 126-2 loss to Alberta. They bounced back with a 67-23 loss to New Brunswick for their closest of the tournament.
“That game against New Brunswick, which was our first game back after that big loss, our girls really showed up,” said Bradford. “That was probably our best game through the whole tournament. We were super proud of how they played and how they responded from the big loss.”
Yukon’s highest scoring game came in an 85-29 loss to Newfoundland on Aug. 2. Bilsky, Dannica Nelson and Landyn Blisner each had six points and Sheridan Curteanu had five. Yukon’s Maggie O’Connor-Brook posted her team’s tournament high of 13 rebounds in the game.
“We had some good offensive performances from different girls every game,” said Bradford. “Against Newfoundland yesterday Jetta Bilsky probably played her best game.
“Today (against P.E.I.) Dylan Massie shot well, hit a couple shots from the field.”
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com